FDA Goes After Distilleries Over Hand Sanitizer Production


Government regulations are hampering private businesses’ ability to aid in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Scott Harris, co-founder of Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. in Purcellville, Virginia, has been converting his distillery’s alcohol supply into hand sanitizer out of a feeling of “moral responsibility.”

Unfortunately for Harris, the Food and Drug Administration is not making this process an easy one.

Distilleries across the U.S. are facing rigid FDA opposition to their efforts to aid in fighting COVID-19.

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The FDA guidelines getting in the way require that sanitizer not be made with drinking alcohol.

American distilleries wanting to convert their alcohol reserves are required to add a “bitterant” in order to prevent children from drinking it, according to The Washington Times.

Other distilleries have voiced their concerns regarding these federal guidelines.

“We appreciate the FDA’s concerns, but there’s got to be a way to do this,” said Chris Swonger, president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.

Should the FDA loosen its regulations?

“We do have to find a path with the FDA to come up with a practical guideline for undenatured alcohol so distillers continue to fulfill the demand out there in the marketplace.”

While these distilleries voiced their willingness to compromise, the FDA is remaining stringent in its request, according to The Times.

“The FDA’s guidances explain that FDA does not intend to object to the manufacture of denatured or undenatured alcohol for use in hand sanitizers, so long as a denaturant (bitterant) is added prior to the final production of the hand sanitizer,” the agency said.

“Adding these denaturants to the alcohol renders the product less appealing to ingest.”

The FDA’s unwillingness to bend this rule is preventing many private organizations from filling a massive void in the American market.

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Hand sanitizer has become so scarce that prices for a box of small bottles went as high as $400 on Amazon early last month, Reuters reported.

With resources so scarce, it is unfortunate that government bureaucracy is hampering these private organizations’ efforts.

Without the red tape, many more companies would be able to follow in the footsteps of outspoken conservative Mike Lindell, who has allocated the resources of his company, MyPillow, toward creating masks for health care workers, according to Fox News.

Even with all the regulations, America’s private industry is stepping up to the plate and helping lead the fight against COVID-19.

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including numerous original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of supervising staff reporter. His responsibilities now include directing the reporting team.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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